Highlights of Kwankwaso’s Speech at Chatham House

January 19, 2023

On today’s episode of “Keeping up With the Chatham House Speeches”, the New Nigeria People’s Party presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, made his debut on January 18, 2023. 

Kwankwaso is known to have most of his supporters as grassroots Nigerians in the North. Like Peter Obi’s Obidients, Kwankwaso’s followers have also cultivated the Kwankwasiyya movement — a movement based on his ideologies for the common Nigerian.

Rabiu Kwankwaso of the NNPP

Although his speech was being aired for over an hour on Chatham’s Twitter live stream, the social media streets didn’t even realise that he had a conference until he started roasting Obi the Labour Party (LP).

But what were these roasts exactly? Did he have anything else to say? Let’s take a look:

The Disses

“Labour Party is based on religion and ethnicity.”

As of June 2022, the NNPP and Labour Party felt that the combination of Obi’s Southern “Obidient” force and Kwankwaso’s Northern “Kwankwasiyya” movement would make for a great alliance. But this fell apart in August 2022 due to the LP’s insistence that the NNPP give up their presidential goals and support them, which the NNPP refused.

In his Chatham House speech, Kwankwaso gave more context to the failed merger. According to him, the Labour Party isn’t a “national party” (like the NNPP) but one based on ethnicity and religion. He also blamed the Labour Party’s “serious media hype” back then as part of the reasons why he couldn’t see these major flaws.

But for someone whose party members only truly exist in Northern Kano, can he say that the NNPP is a national party?

“To us, [Labour Party] is like Andrew Liver Salt.” 

Kwankwaso also took the chance to boast of his 30 years of civil service experience. According to Kwankwaso, NNPP is the “only growing party in Nigeria today”, with all other parties reaching their “maximum”. Most especially his archenemy, the Labour Party.  

For the NNPP presidential candidate, the Labour Party’s popularity can be compared to “Andrews Liver Salt ” — a fast rise that is rapidly slowing down.

Even though the Labour Party achieved fame due to Peter Obi’s presidential ambitions, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, as the Labour Party star has been known to lead over four opinion polls — and counting.

Now that we know the disses let’s look at the promises he made to Nigerians.

The Promises 

Provision of free healthcare services

Kwankwaso promised that if he were elected president, all families in Nigeria would have free natal and maternal healthcare services. He also promised “mobile clinics” in underserved communities.

This would prove quite helpful, as the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) announced in March 2022 that over 40,000 women often die from pregnancy-related issues in Nigeria. Part of the cause is due to the lack of affordable healthcare.

Eradication of illiteracy and introduction of four-year validity for JAMB

Kwankwaso believes that all Nigerians deserve quality education no matter their gender or social status. He plans to achieve this by doing the following:

  • Addition of incentives to encourage enrollment of girls and all other children from underserved communities.
  • Eradicate illiteracy in Nigeria by giving adults the opportunity to engage in lifelong learning.
  • Enroll Nigeria’s 20 million out-of-school children in quality institutions of learning within the next four years.
  • Provision of one meal per day for children in primary schools.
  • Application forms for tertiary institutions (WAEC, NECO, JAMB) and job enrollment would be free of charge (due to the success of a similar experiment in Kano state).
  • Introduction of a four-year validity period for JAMB results instead of one year.

Two million job opportunities in armed forces, police and other security agencies

Kwankwaso believes that one of the best ways to tackle unemployment is by creating two million job vacancies in security agencies, particularly the armed forces and police.

There’s a possibility he might have gotten this idea from his time as Defence Minister. Still, statistics show that Nigeria’s armed forces have only 190,000 personnel in the Army, Navy, and Air Forces combined and his promise might be a long stretch.

More taxes for companies and citizens 

Kwankwaso wants to boost Nigeria’s non-oil revenue through reforms and increments in taxes. Company Income Tax (CIT), Value-Added Tax (VAT), and other revenue-generating agencies were mentioned.

This is certainly one promise that’s jarring, as Nigeria’s current CIT rate of 30% is one of the highest in the world, even more than ‘developing countries’.

We write the news and track the 2023 elections for citizens, by citizens in our weekly newsletter, Game of Votes. Make the subscription of a lifetime here.

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